What years did you participate in UROP? 

I participated in UROP my freshman year (2013-2014 academic year)

What made you choose UROP?

I knew I wanted to get involved in research, but I wasn’t really sure how to get started. UROP seems like a great opportunity to help me find a lab and learn the basics of what it meant to work in a lab as a research assistant.

What do you think you have learned from your UROP experience?

I learned a lot about time management. Up until then, I was used to the structure of syllabi and classes, which essentially created a schedule for me. In my lab work, I was assigned a few tasks and a general window of time to finish them, so it required much more self-motivation and self-created structure than I had ever experienced. That is definitely a good skill to have, and it’s helped me as I move through my academic training.

What is the extent to which you have kept in contact with your Research Mentor?

I have not kept in touch with my Research Mentor.

How did your UROP experience shape or inform the next steps you took in your academic and professional journey?

Participating in UROP during my freshman year gave me the experience and courage to start reaching out to faculty independently to find a research assistantship. I ended up in a lab that shaped the rest of my undergraduate career by helping me hone my research interests by completing an honors thesis.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

While I knew I wanted to participate in research coming into college, I had no idea what my research interests were or how to narrow them down. The UROP lab where I worked gave me initial research experience, but, truthfully, I found that the research questions being asked were not the types of questions I wanted to ask. Some students remain as a research assistant in their UROP lab and continue conducting that research, but I think that is not the case for everyone. So my advice: it’s okay if you feel like your lab or project is not the best fit for you. Many research skills are generalizable to really any academic field or setting, so that experience will help you wherever you end up, whether in a research setting or not.

What are some recent publications or accomplishments that you are proud of?

After graduating from Michigan, I worked in a lab studying avian behavioral neuroscience, where I learned how to measure auditory perception in songbirds. From those projects, I published a first author paper, and also participated in a few other experiments that are currently being written up for publication. Right now, I’m in the first year of a PhD program studying neuroscience and auditory perception, where I am currently working on a paper investigating the neural correlates of auditory working memory. This work is completely different than my UROP projects, but I’ve ended up here because participating in UROP solidified my desire to continue in research.